Bill Bryson and His Thunderbolt Superchildhood

A good start in this year – this is the 2nd book I have read in this year of 2008. The first one being The GOD Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and this second one is Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

Excerpt and reviews of the books could be found online, and generally it receives positive criticism. Many critics said it is funny; for me, I was disappointed to find out how pathetic was my childhood. When I was a kid, I did not dream of having the life of Bryson’s childhood somewhat two decades before. Driving through the country? Take one day off to Disney’s Land? Even watching TV was something I did not enjoy until I was about 13 years old, when, at the same age, Bryson bought his first TV with 103 US dollars he earned by working as a newspaper boy.

I don’t want to list every detail that enthralled Bill Bryson when he was a kid and of which I did not have any concept until at least early adulthood. In short, that is, at least 50 years’ gap of social and economic development. I was born in that country, at that time, into that family, and therefore, I had to live a childhood life as I did. Nothing I could do to change it. I just feel so angry about the communism slogans I read as a child, that we were living in a happiest time, and we would try our best to save people in the Western world – specifically, America – from poverty and tragedy, while at a time much earlier, the children in America were enjoying a life I could not dream of. Though this anger has diminished in recent years as I am growing old, it is rekindled now.

Another thought was projected the the education of the children. Kids in USA might become big trouble-makers, as were some of Bryson’s friends. They faked ID card, they stole beers, they saw stripper’s show, even they tried to detonate homemade bombs! And wow, these things would never stop their success. Even the long-time alcohol addict joined AA and maintained sober for a few years, and got married. An example out of the book may be Drew Barrymoore, the precocious actress who started to smoke cigarette and marijuana at about 10 years old, married and divorced at 20, displayed nude pictures in Playboys, and was sent to behavioral correction repeatedly. However, nowadays she is quite successful, she is totally changed, she is still admired by her fans, and she doesn’t, or cannot deny her delinquent childhood. The supportive system of the society is so powerful, that even the most ruined soul can get saved and make him/herself a useful person, even during the final ages.

OMG, I just hope I had a childhood with DC comics, Disney Land, and so many movies and toys…

The time moves on; it does not move back.

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